Bill would give option to avoid tax “marriage penalty”

A bipartisan state bill would eliminate Ohio’s so-called “marriage penalty” by allowing couples to separately file their state income tax returns.

A married couple who each works full time and earns minimum wage pays $159 more a year in income taxes than they would if they filed separately, according to the Ohio Department of Taxation. State Reps. John Becker, a Union Township Republican, and David Leland, a Columbus Democrat, said in a statement that House Bill 333 will eliminate the difference.

“Ohioans shouldn’t be forced to pay higher taxes just because they get married,” said Leland, who introduced the same bill in 1983. “This bipartisan legislation will eliminate the Ohio marriage penalty and allow over (2.5) million Ohioans to keep more of their hard-earned dollars.”

People’s state tax filing status must match their federal filing status under Ohio law. Ohio is the only Midwestern state with such a requirement, according to the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation.

The House proposal would allow couples to make the tax decisions that best fit their financial situation – whether it’s a separate or joint return.

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